Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu mine west of Johannesburg has been hit by an illegal strike triggered by the sacking of six leaders of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) union for their role in a violent stoppage earlier this year, a spokeswoman said on Monday.

“Employees at the mine did not report to work on Sunday evening following an ultimatum issued to employees to return to work which was in reaction to an illegal stay away on Friday,” said the mining company in a statement.

The dismissal of the branch leadership follows an extensive legal disciplinary process followed by management.

Peter Steenkamp, CEO, Harmony said, “We appeal to employees to return to work and strongly condemn any act of violence or intimidation. It is important that discipline at the mine be restored to ensure the sustainability of the mine.”

Harmony said management would continue to engage with the leadership of AMCU to address the current illegal industrial action.